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The Devil's Foot 

While convalescing in Cornwall, a depressive Holmes investigates the apparent death from apoplexy of a local woman and the unexplained sudden dementia of her two brothers.


Ken Hannam


Arthur Conan Doyle (by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), John Hawkesworth (developed for television by) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Jeremy Brett ... Sherlock Holmes
Edward Hardwicke ... Dr Watson
Denis Quilley ... Dr Leon Sterndale
Damien Thomas ... Mortimer Tregennis
Michael Aitkens Michael Aitkens ... Reverend Roundhay
Freda Dowie ... Mrs Porter
Norman Bowler ... Owen Tregennis
Peter Shaw Peter Shaw ... George Tregennis
Christine Collins Christine Collins ... Brenda Tregennis
John Saunders John Saunders ... Dr Richards
Frank Moorey Frank Moorey ... Police Inspector


Suffering from depression and nearing a breakdown, Holmes is accompanied by Watson to Cornwall for rest and recuperation as they tour the area's scenic coastal cliffs and Neolithic sites. The tranquility is interrupted by news that an unexplained tragedy has suddenly struck three siblings while playing cards in their home. The sister has apparently died from apoplexy, and her two brothers are suffering from acute dementia with expressions of fear and horror frozen on their faces. Showing great will power, Holmes discards his cocaine hypodermic and scrutinizes those involved in the case: an estranged third brother, the local vicar, and an enigmatic big game hunter and African explorer. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 April 1988 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

Cadgwith, Cornwall, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The hallucination segment includes details of William Blake paintings (Nabuchodonosor, The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve) and scenes of Holmes' encounter with Professor Moriarty from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Problem (1985). See more »


[first lines]
Dr Watson: Almost there.
Sherlock Holmes: What does a Harley Street specialist know about my health?
Dr Watson: Listen, Holmes, Dr Moore Agar insists you have a complete rest if you wish to avoid an absolute breakdown. The sea air will do you the world of good.
See more »


Version of The Devil's Foot (1921) See more »

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User Reviews

The darkest entry in an outstanding series.
7 May 2018 | by Paul EvansSee all my reviews

Jeremy Brett's magical run as Holmes aired when I was very young, when I think back this was the episode that had the greatest impact on me, even now I'm struck by just how bleak it is. Three reasons, firstly the horrible way the poor Tregenniss family die, it's so dark, secondly the trippy scene where Holmes suffers the effects of the substance, and also the terrors he faces with drugs. It's one of my favourite stories, it's a wonderful tale of justice and revenge. Great production values, the coast looks incredible, and of course the acting is fabulous, Brett and Hardwicke at their very best.

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